Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Obama, if you don't want to do the time, don't do the crime.

This is in relation to Obama's refusal to release more photos of prisoner abuse. The quotes are here:

"The president "believes their release would endanger our troops," a White House official says, adding that the president "believes that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court."

Could I say in response that if you don't want evidence of a crime to become public knowledge you shouldn't have committed the crime in the first place? Obama is now the Commander in Chief. As such he has inherited the mantle of the position from Bush and is now the person upon whom responsibility for these things devolves. It's not an argument that Obama isn't responsible because these things happened under Bush's watch. As long as he obstructs justice he himself is responsible.

Let's do a little thought experiment: say that there's a country that's doing terrible things to a minority group, that the country is herding people into camps and starving them to death. Lets say that we have good relations with the country, and that an American reporter has been to the camps and has taken pictures. What would we think of a government that tried to censor the release of the pictures because it may jeopardize the relationship between the two countries? We'd say that they were totally hypocritical and were acting contrary to basic considerations of humanity and international law.

This is what Obama is doing. It's essentially trying to cover up the war crimes that the U.S. has committed by saying that releasing the evidence would endanger the group that has committed them. and that for all we know is still committing them.

The U.S. Army should pay the price for having done this, and Obama is shielding them from experiencing the full consequences of their actions.

If Iraqis hate the U.S. military for doing this then more power too them. I'd hate a group of people who abused detainees like this. The argument about further attacks fails because although we can know that the revelations about the exact crimes that the U.S. military has committed will make people angry we cannot know if this anger will in fact translate out into further attacks on the U.S. Army troops there, or if it would who would do it. It's a hypothetical future situation, while the matter of documenting the crimes that have already been committed is very concrete.

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